Discover / / 13.04.17


“Just look at them! They’re so awkward and weird looking.” This was how one short-sighted detractor described Leeds-based free noise experimentalists Guttersnipe. And yet mistaking the duo’s ferociously tense live performances for sheer awkwardness is something that they find some perverse solace in. “This entertained us a fair bit,” drummer Bdallophytum Oxylepis explains, “That our general appearance and on-stage demeanour would induce pity and discomfort is an asset for us in the face of a culture that favours the strong and well presented.”

Drawing from an oblivion of influences from noise rock acts such as AIDS Wolf and Fat Worm of Error to the nihilistic openness of power-electronic pioneers including Philip Best, Guttersnipe’s songwriting is impossible to pin down. It skitters from one irrational idea to the next like some piece of absurdist theatre. And yet through all the hideous racket they create, their stage pseudonyms suggest a greater creative purpose than just making noise for noise sake. “It was one of the starting points in Guttersnipe,” Oxylepis say, alleviating our suspicion. “We wanted to try and imagine extreme music that would be enjoyed or created by non-humans.”


And what does that sound like? “Buzzing, whirring, clicking, crumbling. The sound of a swarm of insects or the invisible fields of communication detectable only by life forms alien to our own. It’s healthy and I think also fun to try and see things from outside of our human perspective. Noise and avant-garde music has extensively delved into this imaginal realm but it often lacks the kinetic motion and energy that a live rock band has so we aim to bring these fields together. Our pseudonyms and song titles are ways of making these themes more tangible than just the sound alone.”

With song titles like Phosphene Gamine Forcipule and Tutti Frutti Chernobyl, it’s clear that Guttersnipe are approaching their non-human project with as much black humour as they are verbose sonic intensity. And considering Violaxia continued to record their latest release with a broken arm, the couple’s dedication seems totally unwavering. “She climbed a tree to get a closer look at a bizarre purple wasp’s nest that seemed to be glowing. The recording is her playing synth with one hand and me on drums with triggered disco synth beeps; using the ‘instant composition’ method. We didn’t want to be out of action for three months so this was a tactic to stay active and keep the ball rolling. The music is pretty annoying. But so is having a broken arm when you want to play guitar.”

Guttersnipe play Fat Out Fest at Salford’s Islington Mill on 14-16 April